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George W. Bush Arrives in PhiladelphiaAired August 2, 2000 - 9:01 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: I just mentioned to Leon Harris, Daryn, that the momentum continues to build here and for a pretty good reason for the delegates in Philadelphia. George W. Bush closing in on his scheduled arrival here in Philadelphia. Should happen any minute now.
Let's head out to the airport now, northeast of town, and CNN's Patty Davis quick preview of what we can expect shortly.
Patty, good morning to you.
PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Bill.
That is right, George W. Bush is expected here very shortly and we're told that his plane is running on time. Greeting him here, hundreds of supporters, including the state's Republican senators from Washington, as well as a group of YMCA kids that Republicans have given tri-cornered hats. Also, historical figures, you can see behind me Betsy Ross, Thomas Jefferson, the Liberty Bell. Also, he will go up on that podium after he shakes the hands of the hundreds in this crowd, he will ring that Liberty Bell three times.
Now, George W. Bush hoping, of course, to make some history here in Philadelphia and, again, of his own this fall when he wins the election. He's opening.
Now, Bush will be very busy today. His first event after he arrives here at the airport is a Hispanic rally in Center City. Philadelphia. Also has this afternoon several RNC events: one a reception where he will meet with VIPs of the Republican Party; also a gala this afternoon.
Then, very importantly for George W. Bush, a technical walk through at the First Union Center, where he will be giving his speech on Thursday evening. He needs to know what to do, where to go. And then he goes back to his hotel in the evening to watch his running mate, Dick Cheney, give his speech. Last night, we saw him via satellite speaking to convention delegates introducing his foreign policy adviser. He was speaking from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Flew in this morning. Thousands yesterday turned out for a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, that was his stop before he gave that convention address. He told the crowd that he is vowing to take Pennsylvania back for the Republicans. That state has gone Democratic in the last two elections. Pennsylvania is the last stop on a five-day -- six-day tour by Bush. He started his tour of key battleground states in Arkansas, then went to Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, and then Pennsylvania.
The main event, though, of course, Thursday evening, when he gives his acceptance speech to the Republican National Convention here in Philadelphia -- Bill.
HEMMER: All right, Patty, stand by there at the airport, again, north of town. We will check in shortly when George W. Bush does indeed arrive.
While the delegates and media await George W. Bush's arrival here, tonight is night number three, at the RNC. And with a look at what to expect, here now is Bernie Shaw with a look at that.
BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Here's a look at Wednesday, August 2nd, the third day of the Republican National Convention. Minutes after the start, 7:30 local time, recently retired NFL quarterback Steve Young takes the snap and delivers the invocation.
In the 8:00 hour, the spotlight shifts from the famous to the mainstream. Kim Jennings becomes the latest to lend her story to underscore a GOP theme. As a single mother juggling work and college, she'll discuss the need for tax relief. That's one of the topics under the night's theme: "Prosperity with a Purpose: Keeping America Prosperous and Protecting Retirement Security."
In the 9:00 hour, the rolling roll call, which began Monday, is expected to nudge the Bush ticket over the top.
In the following hour, 10:00, the focus tightens to the second half of the Bush-Cheney ticket. Vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney will receive his official nomination, then deliver his acceptance speech. That will come in the final minutes of the convention's third night, Wednesday, August 2nd.
HEMMER: Thank you. Welcome back to Philadelphia. Live once again, here is Bill Schneider to shake things down last night.
John McCain came out, supporters a bit apprehensive before he actually took the stage, weren't quite sure what he was he was going to say. A quick sample from his word last night. We will examine it here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: He wants nothing to divide us into separate nations, not our color, not our race, not our wealth, not our religion, not our politics. He wants us to live for America as one nation and together profess the American creed of self-evident truths. I support him, I am grateful to him, and I am proud of him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HEMMER: John McCain, last evening, strong words. Where they convinced?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: I think they were convinced. That was an unusual speech because it wasn't a rousing speech. There was no shouting, there was no loud declamatory rhetoric. It was an intensely personal speech where he endorsed because of the part of agenda the two men share. It was very wistful and personal, almost like a farewell speech of an old soldier. Because he knows that if Bush elected, which he wants, that his crusade will end, John McCain's crusade will end.
HEMMER: Soft spoken tone that many times last night and quite evident. Also last night, prior to John McCain, a rather unscripted moment, as you would it call is. Jim Kolbe, openly gay Republican from Arizona.
SCHNEIDER: He didn't speak about any issue relating to gay rights, he talked about international trade, but he is an openly -- the only openly gay Republican member of Congress. And what happened was that a group of Texas delegates, who were threatening to walk out during his remarks, instead staged a protest, where we can see it here, with that sign: "There's a way out." They disapprove of homosexuality, and they were praying. It was a silent protest. But it was an unscripted moment.
It's not the message this convention wants to send, because they wanted to make it clear that they are inclusive and that gays are welcome in the Republican Party, but you can't entirely script these events, they have an unpredictable quality.
HEMMER: And today, we're talking nothing about his message last night of trade, everything is about the attention for the muted protest from last night.
Rick Lazio is here, expected to leave tomorrow. He has got a tough Senate race. We all know about that. There was a moment last night too stuck out with you regarding him.
SCHNEIDER: Exactly right because that was a moment, again it was kind of unscripted, where he got a rousing reception from these delegates. There delegates want red meat. I mean, they are very frustrated. Nobody is mentioning the name of Bill Clinton or Hillary Clinton or Al Gore. Impeachment is a non-issue at this convention.
They are just waiting for someone to get them on their feet with a call to fight. Well, the minute they saw Rick Lazio, the opponent of Hillary Clinton, my god, this was a close as they are going to get. This is a vegetarian convention.
HEMMER: Cue up the steak knives too. let's talk about Dick Cheney. Is he the guy to get that red meat a little more heated up? SCHNEIDER: That's what a vice presidential candidate is supposed to do, vice presidential candidate is supposed to be an attack dog. But Cheney hasn't sounded like that recently. When he was named, he didn't attack, he said that his message would be one of civility, not ideology.
He is very conservative. He is not supposed to reach out to swing voters. And people are wondering, why did Bush name another conservative? Well, the message is civility. We are going to be a different kind of ticket, a different kind of team, just like this was a different kind of convention without any attack politics.
I would be surprised if Cheney goes for the jugular, as vice presidents traditionally do.
HEMMER: Yesterday, we talked about red meat, you just mentioned it. What's the temperature of the steak today? Are we getting closer to medium-rare or not?
SCHNEIDER: We may hear the names of Clinton and Gore cross people's lips. I think when the president criticized George Bush and belittled his credentials, that really got these delegates, including former President Bush, a little riled up.
HEMMER: We shall follow that. You stand by here. We will talk again when George W. Bush's plane does touchdown.
Another note about last night, former President Gerald Ford, in Philadelphia here for the convention, had a bit of a scare last night. Mr. Ford, 87 years old now, was treated and released from a city hospital after complaining of discomfort during last night's session. Aides say he was treated as a precaution for a sinus problem. His treatment took less than an hour's time last evening.
Also, police and demonstrators on the move again yesterday, especially at rush hour. Several demonstrations occurred across downtown streets north of the convention site here. Some scuffling did occur during some of those scattered protests. Police say they picked up more than 280 people on arrest charges there. Twenty-five patrol cars were damaged in total, and six police officers slightly hurt, including the city's police commissioner, who has been riding throughout the week on his mountain bike, along with his fellow officers.
The demonstrations tied up afternoon traffic for about 30 minutes or more in some places. They were protesting a variety of issues too, from the death penalty, to corporate greed, and global capitalism.
CNN's Kate Snow has been watching all the activities here at the Comcast First Union Center. She's just outside with us now. Let's check in now and get a take on the pulse thus far today.
Kate, good morning to you.
KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Bill. Last night, the theme of the convention inside the build behind me, "Security and Strength with a Purpose." And on that theme, they brought out war heroes, three of them. General Norman Schwarzkopf was here, also Senator John McCain, as you heard earlier, and also Senator Bob Dole, the Republican convention's nominee back in 1996.
Dole showing that he still had a sense of humor. He got up on stage and said, maybe there should be a recount of the vote, making sort of a joke about his effort back in 1996. He went on to talk about the "great generation," a tribute to the veterans of that generation, and talked about the future and his support for Bush and for Cheney.
It was a very patriotic program, one of the highlights a tribute to several Republican presidents of the past: Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford and George Bush. Reagan's wife Nancy Reagan on hand for that moment. She stood up as the crowd cheered and applauded her.
Also in the crowd, the Bushes -- the senior Bushes. Barbara Bush, the first lady, made a surprise appearance of sorts. She got up on stage last night to a great round of applause, and she shushed the crowd, told everyone to be quiet, and then introduced her son, George W. Bush, who then spoke via satellite on video from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, near here. It was a surprise moment in what was an otherwise very scripted program last night, Bill.
This convention, following the program of tonight, Dick Cheney's speech on the agenda. We're also expecting George W. Bush here in Philadelphia. As you've mentioned, we expect him to the come to the convention a little later this afternoon just to scope things out and plan for his speech on Thursday night.
Bill, back to you.
HEMMER: All right, Kate. Kate Snow, an update from outside the First Union Center here in Philadelphia.
Going right on Kate's them about last night's theme about security and defense, a local paper today, "The Inquirer," splits the page on the headline today: "High-Powered Troops Rally Around Bush" -- you see that to the right -- also splitting time with the protest that disrupted the city that we talked about. More on that throughout the morning as well.
Again, we're still waiting for Governor George W. Bush to touch down here in Philadelphia. We're going to continue to monitor that. The word we're getting right now, three minutes away north of town he'll land here.
Also we want to let you know: We talked about Jim Kolbe a short time ago. He's going to join us at about half past the hour. We'll talk with more him.
But as we look at a live picture again outside of Philadelphia with the Bush arrival there, Patty Davis is there, Bill Schneider is here with me.
And, Patty, I don't know if you can hear me just yet or not, but earlier, about 45 minutes ago, you said there were roughly about 100 people out there, security was indeed tight. Have the numbers increased since then?
DAVIS: They have increased. They're over to your right over there, the crowd. I'm told now several hundred people, including -- oh, George W. Bush's plane has just arrive on the tarmac there, down the runway.
We're told that several hundred people are here, including dignitaries Senator Rick Santorum, Senator Arlen Specter, both Republicans senators from the state of Pennsylvania, as well as a YMCA group, as well as other local dignitaries here in Philadelphia awaiting George W. Bush's arrival.
HEMMER: All right, Patty. Patty, hang right there with us.
Back in our studio here with Bill Schneider.
And the word we're getting from the stump is that the crowds have been huge and very, very loud, starting in Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, Kentucky before that, and then on into West Virginia and Pennsylvania. I would assume, as a candidate who's building momentum toward tomorrow night, that's a really good sign for George Bush.
SCHNEIDER: It is a good sign. I think it was very carefully planned. But, you know, this tour is a tour through the battleground belt of American politics. These are all closely fought states, Ohio, Pennsylvania -- no accident that the convention is here -- from Missouri, even Kentucky. That was one of the closest-fought states in 1996. I think Clinton carried it by the narrowest margin of any state in the union. So he's picked this tour very carefully.
HEMMER: Patty, also curious to know about the themes that have been discussed throughout this campaign swing here. How much do we have an idea of what Governor Bush has said on the stump that indeed we'll hear again tomorrow night here in Philly?
DAVIS: We have a pretty good idea that much of what he has said on the stump he is going to say here. He's talked about military, the morale, beefing up the military. His spokesperson says that's one issue that he's going to hit hard. Also, what to do with this huge surplus that the United States now has. He has a $1.3 trillion tax cut over 10 years. They say that that is going to be part of his speech also tomorrow night -- Bill.
HEMMER: All right, Patty. As you continue to talk, we look at a live picture now. That 737 is now on the ground. I believe it says "Bush and Cheney" across the top. Patty, am I wrong?
DAVIS: That is his brand new painted plane. That's the same plane he's been using all throughout the campaign, newly painted for this particular trip with "Bush and Cheney," red, white and blue colors. It's his 737. Been flying all over the country with that. He has been mostly on a bus tour throughout this five-day tour that he's taken through six states coming into Philadelphia. But the last few legs have been aboard this plane. HEMMER: As the delegates await the arrival of George W. Bush, certainly this is the highlight for them.
HEMMER: Bill Schneider, on the stump just in the past few days, the tiff has enlarged itself. President Clinton, about a week ago, started talking publicly about George W. Bush, his background, his intent as president, some remarks that apparently were not taken too favorably by the Bush folks. They held their tongue for about five days, but yesterday it all changed. What's happening on that?
SCHNEIDER: What happened I think is a very carefully planned campaign by the president of the United States, who is a brilliant politician, to provoke Bush and Cheney.
HEMMER: You think he was just trying to get a comment out of them, to get under his skin?
SCHNEIDER: He was trying to get under his skin because he knows what they're doing at this convention. What they're doing is trying to present a happy face, no harsh rhetoric, no confrontational language, no division. We're all happy warriors here. Well, Clinton made those remarks, belittling Bush's credentials to be president because he was trying to provoke Bush and his father, which he succeeded in doing, into some very sharp rebuttals.
HEMMER: And President George Bush said last night he's going to hold his tongue for now. But I think he said to one reporter, check back in in a month's time and I'll let you know how I really feel about the man at that point. Wondering here if there's a possible chance of backfire? And I say that and suggest that just because President Bush may at some point come out and defend his son, father, son out there in the public. A lot of families can relate to that across the country. Is there possibilities that it could backlash against President Clinton, the White House and Al Gore on this.
SCHNEIDER: It could because these were very personal comments that were made during the middle of the Republican convention where the other side usually lies very low. Al Gore's, of course, been on vacation. He hasn't said very much. Yes, it could if it gets very personal. What he clearly wants to do is provoke the Republicans into saying harsh, divisive things, and then the Democrats can say, well, this isn't a new Republican Party, this is the same old back-stabbing, slash-and-burn Republican Party, harsh, divisive mean-spirited, that we've seen in the past.
HEMMER: And for Clinton to speak now, it's a bit of a break from tradition. I mean, normally, presidents either do not speak or they hold their tongue during conventions, anyway, of the opposition.
SCHNEIDER: Number one, he's in the other party. Number two, he's the president of the United States. He's supposed to be above all that. And number three, if anybody's supposed to say it, it's supposed to be Al Gore. So it was a bit unusual. But I can't believe that it wasn't carefully planned. HEMMER: Back to Patty Davis at the airport now as that plane comes further into view here.
Patty, going back to my previous point here on the stump and right into what Bill Schneider and I were just talking about, several times on the campaign trail George W. Bush has said, I chose Dick Cheney because here is a man who knows what the meaning of "is" is, a clear reference to President Clinton, the problems he had in Washington two years ago.
The other point I wanted to make is that sometimes we have seen this videotape of George W. Bush on the stump raising his right hand, almost as if he is taking an oath, and what he says, an oath to uphold, you know, the laws of the country, et cetera. Patty, how much is that played on the stump itself?
DAVIS: Well, you know, it's interesting, most of George W. Bush's references to Bill Clinton have been pretty veiled, as you said, holding his hand on the Bible saying, I will uphold the dignity of the White House should I get that office. But yesterday, he kind of switched from that and came out and took a real shot at Bill Clinton, saying that, indeed, he was a desperate politician wanting to create a legacy for himself and get Al Gore elected.
Of course, Bill Clinton had chided George W. Bush and said he was a daddy's boy, said his fraternity -- said George W. Bush wanted his fraternity to take over the White House now after the Democratic fraternity had had it for the previous eight years.
HEMMER: Bit of a side show outside of Philadelphia, but, nonetheless, it's drawing a lot of attention.
Patty, any reaction from the Bush camp about McCain's speech last night?
DAVIS: At this point, I've been here at the airport this morning and haven't talked directly to the Bush campaign about that.
HEMMER: All right. Back here with Bill Schneider, then.
They talked about a Rose Garden strategy.
SCHNEIDER: Well, that's the...
HEMMER: What do they mean when they talk about this?
SCHNEIDER: That's the idea that, you know, George W. Bush seems to be ahead, he is ahead in all the polls; not by a huge margin, but by a small margin. He's trying to protect his lead, it looks like. You know, the idea is he won't get out there and fight. He's hiding behind the rose bushes. That's a strategy a lot of incumbent presidents have followed in the past: I'm not going to demean myself by actually campaigning, I'm going to do my job.
Well, of course, he's not -- George W. Bush is not president of the United States. He's ahead, though, and he's trying to appear presidential. But most of all, he doesn't want to get too mean and tough because that's not the image of the Republican party he wants to project. We're happy Republicans, happy conservatives. He want's to de-Gingrich the Republican Party, make it appear to be optimistic, open, tolerant, inclusive, and in his word, "compassionate."
HEMMER: Last night, his mother, Barbara Bush, the former first lady, got up there in front of the stage. A bit of a surprise appearance, it was not scheduled or planned. Some people knew about it, most of the people did not. But she said I want to welcome to the city of motherly love.
HEMMER: I wondering, is there a possibility that George W. Bush may surprise tonight as well and show up inside, because he's been by way of satellite. It was my understanding that he was only going to appear on Thursday, am I wrong?
SCHNEIDER: Well, I don't know myself what's planned, but, you know, they like to put some surprise into these things. Because, look, there's not a whole lot of news. But I think they might try to build it in, because if George W. Bush makes appearance, as other nominees have done unexpectedly, the convention hall can be expected to go wild. It'll be a spontaneous moment, a scripted spontaneous moment by the convention managers. But nevertheless, the minute they set eyes on him, the place will go nuts. And that will be a great moment point for the show they are trying to produce.
HEMMER: Scripted spontaneous, not spontaneity, I guess.
That scripted to the point -- that's it. But they know what'll happen if he sets foot in this hall.
HEMMER: Patty, the door is open on that plane right there. We expect any moment now, George W. Bush will come out and we would assume that the crowd there will greet him quite warmly. Later today, about 10:30 a.m. Eastern time, about an hour and 10 minutes from now, he has a rather large event appealing to Hispanics at the Philadelphia art museum. Talk more about that if you could, Patty.
DAVIS: Well, Hispanics are a group that George W. Bush is going after in a big way. He got a large portion, 50 percent of the Hispanic vote in Texas, he says, when he ran for governor. It's a group that he is -- that he needs to win this election, as well as minorities, as well as women. And he is going after all three of those groups with much gusto. And he will be going to that event today, you know, in the hopes of gaining favor with Hispanics.
HEMMER: All right, as the band plays on, George W. Bush, again, expected shortly here. Dick Cheney arrived earlier this week. And he's been treated rather well here, as expected in Philadelphia.
As we wait for George W. Bush, Bill Schneider, let's talk more about his role after the this convention. There is word that he's going to take off for the golden state, California, your home state.
HEMMER: Pretty intended strategy, there. Republicans think California is indeed in play.
SCHNEIDER: That's right, there's no evidence that I can produce that California is in play, but there might be something else going on. What they might be trying to do is scare Gore a little bit, and say: We're going to compete for California even though the polls don't show we have a chance there.
They do say, the polls do show that Ralph Nader does very well in California, and most of his votes come from Al Gore. So if Nader becomes a serious factor, it could threaten Al Gore in California. What he's trying to do is get Gore to spend time and money in California instead of in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri and Pennsylvania, the states that are truly being contested.
HEMMER: And what we do know in Ohio, Michigan and Illinois, in the imminent future, anyway, Dick Cheney and George Bush are going to go through that area on a train. And certainly, as you mentioned, battleground states that are absolutely key to anyone who wants a chance at the White House.
SCHNEIDER: That's right, we've had a regionalization of politics in the United States, where the Republicans really have great -- a strong base in the south and the Rockies, and the Democratic base is the two coasts: the West Coast and the northeast of the country. Which leaves those battlegrounds in between, here we are.
HEMMER: There's the governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Ridge, first one off the plane there.
SCHNEIDER: He was considered for the ticket, but apparently his problems with the Catholic Church, he is a Catholic who is a supporter of abortion rights, made him a very risky, dangerous choice.
SCHNEIDER: We saw him last night, by way of satellite, too, just outside of town, near Gettysburg, with Laura and George W. Bush sitting there. And there's the couple, just arriving now in Philadelphia.
Kate Snow is with us too, outside the First Union Center.
Kate, quickly, let's go out to you and just talk more about the day that's planned for the Texas Governor.
SNOW: Right, Bill, you mentioned the choreographed schedule of events here, well, his day is well-planned out as you might imagine. Bush will spend the day hopping from one welcoming event to the next.
First on his agenda, a rally this morning with a Latino focus. George W. Bush will be joined there by George P. Bush, the candidate's Mexican-American nephew. They will spend some time there this morning, along with entertainers. It's in front of Philadelphia Museum of Art. They've spruced the museum for his arrival. They've even painted some of the grass green out in front of the museum there. That museum famous, you might remember, from the "Rocky" movie.
After that he heads to a VIP reception with the Republican National Committee. And they also are throwing a gala for him midday. Late in the afternoon today, George W. Bush, visiting the convention site here at the First Union Center, where he will give his speech on Thursday. An important walk-through for him, to know his -- get his bearings, know the area. And then tonight he will stay back at the hotel, or at least we expect him to stay at the hotel and watch the speech by his running mate, Dick Cheney.
HEMMER: All right, Kate, as you talk, the reception line continues. John Street, the mayor, Democratic mayor here in Philadelphia was in that line, Arlen Specter, the entire delegation virtually, Christine Todd Whitman, the governor from the state next door, New Jersey. One must remember the geography here, with Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, just about everybody has room.
SCHNEIDER: Interesting point about Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania is really a battleground state because it voted for Clinton and 1992 and 1996, but it's got a Republican governor, very popular, Tom Ridge, we just saw. It's got two Republican senators, Arlen Specter, and Rick Santorum, who's running for reelection. And the Republicans control the state legislature. So talk about a battleground, the Republicans seem to control everything in this state except, of course, the city of Philadelphia, which narrowly elected a Democratic mayor. But yet, Bill Clinton has carried it twice.
HEMMER: Patty Davis, back to you, what are you seeing?
DAVIS: We are watching George W. Bush walking down his red carpet. Now he is working his way, along with his wife, Laura Bush, into the crowd. Hundreds of supporters waving flags. He is going to shake as many hands as he possibly can. You can see flags over head of him, there's bunting. This place is totally decked out. He will spend some time working the crowd and then he will work his way up to the podium, where he will -- you'll see some historical figures and he will -- Ben Franklin, Betsy Ross, Thomas Jefferson, George -- another George W., but that's George Washington. And then he will ring the Liberty Bell up there, perhaps give a speech.
You can see, also, coming out behind him there are -- that is the -- that is the Third Pennsylvania light infantry, a historic Revolutionary War group reenacting the revolutionary times now. They told me earlier that they were the ones that took the heavy fire in the Revolutionary War. You can expect George W. Bush to take some heavy fire as the general election gets under way as well.
HEMMER: All right, Patty, stand by once again. I want to talk with Bill Schneider once again only about tomorrow night. It is quite clear at this point in George W. Bush's career, this is going to be his biggest moment to date. And I remember 20 years ago, in Detroit, Ronald Reagan, who came to the Republican convention. And a lot of people viewed him at the time as just a Hollywood actor. They weren't convinced of his credibility at that point. From what I remember, he delivered a pretty darn good speech.
SCHNEIDER: He did.
HEMMER: And convinced a lot of people to follow him. And I'm assuming, absolutely, not only the aides for George W. Bush, but the delegates and he himself feel this speech is very critical in lining folks up in support behind him.
SCHNEIDER: You ever hear the saying first impressions count most? well, for most Americans, their first impression of Governor Bush, the first time he really has addressed a nationwide audience, not just the Republicans in this hall, but a national television audience is tonight.
His father gave a crucial speech in 1988, when he had been vice president for eight years. But, like Al Gore, Americans didn't know him very well. And he gave a speech that defined himself as his own man. Well, George Bush -- George W. Bush, his son, has to do the same thing.
HEMMER: On the stump, also as we mentioned earlier, a lot of choreography gone into the appearances for George W. Bush and where he's gone in the various states leading up to Pennsylvania. It's also quite clear that aides are keeping him away intentionally from reporters. Occasionally an interview on the plane, et cetera, but normally they're kept at arm's length or even further, to stay away from any possibility of a slip up or a question that may come out of left field, that's going to end at some point.
SCHNEIDER: Yes, well, I mean, look, the reporters are there, and they have to be fed or otherwise they get unhappy, and who knows what they'll do. But you know, the reviews are generally that Al Gore is the one who's hard to see. George Bush is pretty accessible for a presidential candidate. Reporters think they have a pretty good relationship with him. And they know that favorable press coverage -- look how McCain turned that into virtually the basis of campaign. His schmoozing with the press, that became one of his campaign tactics.
HEMMER: Another point to pick up on, when George W. Bush comes to the podium tomorrow night, he's going to be introduced by the widow of a former Democratic lieutenant governor back in the state of Texas. There is some history there between the Democratic lieutenant governor who supported George W. Bush as a Democrat. And Bush will tell you that look, this is a sign of my bipartisan ability to bring people together, to unify and we're going to see an example of that tomorrow night, also.
SCHNEIDER: One of the points he wants to make is that he'll bring a different tone to Washington. A tone that's bipartisan, that's dedicated to problem-solving, not bickering, that was Cheney's message when he said that they'll be a new mood civility. That's how they hope, with a solidly conservative ticket -- how are they going to reach moderates, swing voters, independents? the answer is with that new tone of civility. Because those swing voters don't like the bickering.
So he wants to make that quite visual tonight by putting a Democrat on the platform, and saying George W. Bush is a president that Democrats can work with. But I remind you, those are Texas Democrats. And Texas Democrats are not nearly as liberal as the kind of Democrats he's going to come across in Congress.
HEMMER: Kate Snow, are you still with us?
OK, apparently, she's gone away. Maybe we can kick back on that, because she's been on the stump from time to time, maybe she has more to add on that.
Again, George W. Bush, his wife Laura, have touched down here in Philadelphia, in case you're just joining us now, about 9:29 a.m. Eastern time here in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. He -- we expect comments shortly here, and we're going to try and stay with this picture here until Bush does make his way to a microphone. We're also told that he is going to ring the Liberty Bell, or a mock-up of it anyway.
SCHNEIDER: I hope so because the Liberty Bell has damage. I don't think they want to move that around.
HEMMER: You are right.
Patty Davis, I understand he is going to ring it three times; is that correct? and also, what's the symbolism behind that, if anything?
DAVIS: That's a really good question. I asked the Bush campaign that same question and they didn't have an answer for that. But he will -- he will go up to it, and ring it three times, and then we are told that he may or he may not give a speech. But the Light Infantry lining up right now. There is also the Second Pennsylvania Infantry lining up behind the podium where he will be -- they are trying to create a really presidential look for George W. Bush. And here is he is headed up to that podium right now.
The -- a beautiful background, flags, his newly painted red, white, and blue plane.
SCHNEIDER: Ben Franklin, Ben Franklin is right there.
HEMMER: All right. Patty, clearly George W. Bush in front of the microphones right now, and there was some talk that he would not speak, but others say...
SCHNEIDER: There he is shaking hands with Ben Franklin.
SNOW: Getting a little bit of advice from Ben Franklin here,
HEMMER: And you heard what Bob Dole said last night. He said Strom Thurmond took him over to Carpenter's Hall yesterday and showed him where he met Ben Franklin.
SCHNEIDER: That is right. I think this crowd would be very disappointed if he had nothing to say.
HEMMER: All right, what we will get here, probably not a 20- minute stump speech, but we will listen. GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Laura and I want to thank you all very much for coming out this morning.
We've been working our way across the country, been spending time in the great state of Pennsylvania. For those of you who are involved in our campaign in the Philadelphia area, thank you for your hard work. We've got a message for America: We're going to carry Pennsylvania come November.
I'm so honored that my friend, Governor Ridge, and Michelle Ridge traveled with us today from Harrisburg. Tom's a good man, a good friend, a great governor of the state of Pennsylvania. You are lucky to have him lead your state and we're lucky to have him as our friend.
I want to thank so very much the mayor of Philadelphia for being here.
Mr. Mayor, I appreciate your hospitality. I know you've gone the extra mile to make sure this convention is a great convention. We're all pleased with what's taking place in your beautiful city. We can't wait to share in the celebration with you all, and thank you, sir, for your hard work and strong support.
I'm honored that Senator Arlen Specter is here, a strong ally and a good friend. I appreciate Governor Christy Todd Whitman from the state of New Jersey being here. I appreciate my friend Mike Johanns, the governor of Nebraska, being here.
Guess what's going to happen come November? This campaign is going to take a campaign that is positive and hopeful and optimistic to the people. We're a campaign of ideas and the American people are going to respond. If all goes well, you're looking at the next president of the United States.
So Laura and I are grateful. We're so grateful that you're here. We look forward to celebrating with our fellow Republicans and fellow Americans. We look forward to sending a message that the American dream can, in fact, extend its reach throughout all corners of our society. We look forward to continuing this convention as such a positive and hopeful message to America.
Thanks for coming out. Work hard. I'll be working with you. God bless and God bless America.
HEMMER: There you have it from northern Philadelphia here. Northeast Philadelphia airport, George W. Bush and his wife, Laura. He mentioned the word, "positive," and Bill Schneider that is exactly the image that he is trying to create here. He mentioned positive and hopeful, and apparently thus far, he believes that is resonating with voters out there who are listening to his message.
SCHNEIDER: absolutely, that is the whole point of this campaign. It's a different kind of Republican Party. Not the one we saw in the 1990s, the one that renominated his father in Houston that was tough, sharp, divisive. They kept careful control over this agenda, and I would still say it is amazing that the names Clinton and Gore just don't seem to come up, only by a kind of veiled reference, as Kate Snow said a few moments ago.
They don't even talk about impeachment. I mean, this is supposed to be partisan. They are supposed to show fight. Well, he shows a determination to win, but also a determination to remain positive and upbeat.
HEMMER: Even in the convention hall, you don't see signs, T- shirts, buttons, hats, nothing like that that would be negative toward Clinton-Gore.
SCHNEIDER: That's right, you see it in little tiny pieces, like the reception for Rick Lazio, like Condoleezza Rice, who said it all begins with integrity in Oval Office. John McCain says public officials have failed to set an example of public trust, and the convention hall goes wild when they say that. But they don't mention the name Clinton and they don't mention the name Gore.
HEMMER: Patty Davis, he gave the folks there something to nibble on, it wasn't much but a few words anyway.
DAVIS: That is right. A very confidence George W. Bush, coming off his 6-state, five-day campaign swing. He has had huge response from the crowds here. He is expecting that here in Philadelphia, as he heads to the Republican National Convention for his big address on Thursday night.
He's got a full schedule today, however, before that, which culminates tonight in his running mate Dick Cheney giving his address. But, before that, George W. Bush will attend a Hispanic rally down at the Philadelphia Art Museum. Then he will had to an RNC-VIP reception in the early afternoon. After that, a gala event thrown by the RNC, and then, importantly, a technical walk through. He needs to know exactly where he is going and exactly -- this is a very scripted event. He needs to know where to go, and when to walk to the podium, where to look, where not to; where the Teleprompters will be. And He will learn all of that this afternoon, when he has a private, technical walk through of the First Union Center -- Bill.
HEMMER: All right, Patty, thank you. Again, George W. Bush inside the arena later today. As you mentioned, a busy schedule.
And we have seen every speaker virtually come here during the afternoon and just check things out. And certainly, it's good to familiarize yourself with surroundings, the Teleprompter, the camera positions, your stage height relative to the delegates in front of you.
Bill Schneider, what is happening here? George W. Bush getting out of that limo.
Apparently, we don't have our microphones too close there. I am not sure if that is the mayor, John Street, his back to us, or not. Apparently it is, thank you.
George W. Bush, a few quick words here before getting back into that limousine and taking off for various events today.
Bill Schneider, am I going off on a limb here? is it premature to compare Bush and his campaign style, his character, his personality? He is in his low 50s right now, I believe 52, with a Bill Clinton eight years ago in 1992.
SCHNEIDER: Well, certainly there is a real effort to imitate the kind of convention that Bill Clinton had when he was first nominated in 1992. When Clinton tried to grab the issue of change. He wanted to change from President Bush. George Bush is offering change from eight years of Bill Clinton and Al Gore. That is the theme. Remember that convention it was upbeat. Don't stop think about tomorrow. The man from Hope. The walk into the convention center from Macy's down the street in New York City.
Well, Bush is trying to have that sense of bringing a breath of fresh air, a new breeze is blowing, his father said at one point. He is trying to embody the change issue in this country, just as much as Bill Clinton once did.
HEMMER: About 30 minutes ago, here on CNN's "MORNING NEWS," we did report to you that former President Gerald Ford, who is in here in Pennsylvania, apparently is back in a local hospital this morning. It was late last night, about midnight Eastern time, when President Ford was taken to a hospital and treated for about 60 minutes. Aides say that it was just a sinus infection, and also maybe some inner ear difficulties.
But the word we are getting now, President Ford back in the hospital this morning. Very few details on this. But again, at the age of 87, he is getting up there in years. Although he showed quite a bit of energy again last night here with his wife, Betty.
SCHNEIDER: Yes, he was interviewed by Larry King. He was very sharp and penetrating in his interviewed. Of course, he had a very disappointing career. He ran for president in 1976, and he was beaten by Jimmy Carter in what was expected to be a big blow out after Watergate, and it was a lot closer than anyone expects. It's hard to predict these things.
HEMMER: We will talk President Ford's condition throughout the day. As soon as we get more information we will certainly pass that along to our viewers.
As Bush gets back into the limousine, let's make a point about President Ford. I was at a seminar about six months ago, and he said: If Republicans are ever going to capture the White House again, they must take a more moderate position. He felt Democrats, headed up by Bill Clinton, have done that, they learned that, and that was why they were successful for the past eight years. a decade for the matter.
Are his words about moderation hitting home anywhere in this party?
SCHNEIDER: Exactly right, they are hitting home because what George Bush is trying to do is do for the Republicans what Bill Clinton really did for the Democrats. He is simply making them competitive, bringing them back to the mainstream again, after they ventured too far out in the 1990, you know.
They want to get rid of, I'd say, several defining events that Republicans had in the '90s: at the Houston convention of 1992 where the party seemed to turn itself over to the right wing, the Gingrich revolution which went too far with the government shutdown, and finally the impeachment episode which didn't destroy Bill Clinton, it ended up ending the career of Newt Gingrich. There's no talk of any of that. Bush, Cheney not connected to any of those events.
In a way, it's back to the future, back to the Republican Party of Ronald Reagan, of President Bush, kinder and gentler, and even of Gerald Ford, who was very famously moderate. I mean, he certainly would call himself a conservative, but the spirit of Gerald Ford was certainly open and generous.
HEMMER: And just to add to that thought: It has been mentioned this past week, it should be mentioned once again, how few Republican House members have come to this stage. A lot of time, they're -- if they are indeed here, it's at off hours not in primetime. And if so, it's less than three minutes, two minutes, or even one minute up on the stage there. It's quite clear, going to your point again, they're trying to extract themselves from the reputation of the more hard line within their party.
SCHNEIDER: That's right. George Bush makes it very clear to the country that he's not part of the Republican Congress. The Republican Congress has a very negative image. People got very angry with them after the government shut down, and that's represented by, of course, the former speaker, Newt Gingrich, the majority leader, Dick Armey, the majority whip, Tom DeLay. They just haven't been around. Someone asked Dick Armey yesterday on the floor, why aren't you speaking? You're the House majority leader. And he said, they don't need me. What he might have said is, they don't want me, because they don't want to project the image of Congress. Bush is from Texas, he's never worked as a politician in Washington, and he wants to make it clear he's not part of that Republican Congress.
HEMMER: And we're about to see George Bush embark on what will be the toughest campaign of his life. Anne Richards, a Democratic governor in Texas, the incumbent governor at the time back in 1994 that he defeated in a pretty tough race down there, she mentioned one time during an interview -- and, again, this goes back a couple months -- how tough of a campaigner she believes George Bush is. And it was her opinion at the time that he's been underscored with that regard, that people don't believe he can be as good or as effective or as tough or aggressive as...
SCHNEIDER: People underestimate him all the time and he always comes across a lot stronger than anyone expects. And now the Democrats are saying, well, you know, he's not up to the job, he's not capable of it. Don't underestimate this man because he is -- he can be a very impressive campaigner.
HEMMER: All right, Bill Schneider, appreciate the time, your insights. Good to chat with you.
SCHNEIDER: My pleasure to be here.
HEMMER: And George W. Bush, again, on the ground here with his wife Laura, going to be working his way to an event later today, just about 10:30 a.m. Eastern time, a Latino event, and we'll track that for you. A number of other events -- there it is right there: 10:30 a.m. Eastern time, 7:30 on the West Coast. And a bit later at the RNC gala, 12:40 p.m. Eastern time. That is also here in Philadelphia. We'll have coverage and let you know what's happening on that front.
And our primetime coverage, once again, starts tonight, 7:00 Eastern, 4:00 on the West Coast: Bernie, Judy, Bill Schneider will be here, and also Jeff Greenfield again tonight for complete coverage here of the Republican National Convention.
Also, before we go to break, want to make one more mention again: President Gerald Ford admitted to a local hospital last night, treated for a sinus infection at the time, according to his aides, treated and released after about 60 minutes in the hospital last evening. This, again, the videotape with his wife Betty, taking his introduction and a rousing welcome here in the city of Philadelphia. Ford, the former president.
It was a theme night to reflect not only on security in the country last night, but also a reflection of how effective previous Republican presidents have been and have served in the White House.
The word we have, President Ford back in a local hospital this morning. Very few details about his condition, as to why he went back in or his condition at this time, but that is something we will certainly watch for you throughout the morning.
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